Mitt Romney holds campaign event at Solyndra

Mitt Romney
May 31, 2012 7:51:40 PM PDT
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid a visit to Solyndra in Fremont Thursday to bash the president. The presumptive Republican nominee called the failed solar maker a symbol of crony capitalism.

Solyndra has long been the poster child for stimulus spending gone wrong. It's a story Romney wants to keep in the news.

"Free enterprise to the president means taking money from the taxpayers and giving it freely to his friends," Romney said.

The government investment in Solyndra is a symbol of a serious conflict of interest, according to Romney.

"An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the administration had steered money to friends and family, to campaign contributors," Romney said.

In fact the inspector general's report found the loan guarantee for $530 milion was rushed, but failed to find that it was done for political payback.

Billionaire George Kaiser was an investor in Solyndra and backed President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Thursday, ABC7 News' calls to reach Kaiser were not returned.

Thursday, the Romney campaign singled out Steve Westly as an Obama bundler linked to Solyndra, but Westly says his only link was that he sent an email to an Obama advisor warning the president might want wait to visit Solyndra until he was sure of its financial future. But if the president got that warning, he didn't heed it. Within days he was at Solyndra touting it as a symbol of stimulus success.

In October, the president defended the Solyndra loan, saying it did not start with his administration.

"This is a loan guarantee program that predates me, that historically has had support from Democrats and Republicans as well," Obama said.

As Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod attempted to push the narrative that Romney's policies failed in Massachusetts Thursday, he was shouted down by Romney supporters.

And it appears Romney's attacks over Solyndra are at least neutralizing the Obama's campaign's criticism of Romney's job creation record.

"As to the times that I was involved at Bain Capital and the Olympics and as governor, well those are things that are matters of public record," Romney said.

Romney wouldn't defend his record because he didn't want to veer from his message. Both campaigns focusing on each other's records; the topics of how each will create jobs and balance the budget will have to wait for another day.


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